No Dunkirk retreat for Rainworth
On a very foggy evening Rainworth knew that they must rediscover their scoring touch; if they were to continue to have any interest in the Notts Senior Cup. Tonight’s tie against a young and feisty Dunkirk side would be a much sterner test
The early exchanges were shrouded by a swirling fog; which at times looked as though it would be the winner on the night. For the first ten minutes Rainworth had the majority of the play without looking like scoring; whilst Dunkirk were limited to sporadic attacks. Then in the 14th minute; with the fog seemingly getting thicker; Jonathan Williams hit an absolute screamer from 25 yards to give Rainworth the lead. This was followed in the 18th minute when Jermaine Hollis’s shot hit the post; his follow up shot clearing the bar by some distance.
Rainworth didn’t have to wait long for the second and from a Ryan Goward free kick which the keeper failed to hold; Conor Higginson followed up to put the ball into the back of the net. The foul count was starting to mount as Dunkirk persisted with their physical game; and in the 28th minute Ashley Kitchen was sandwiched by two Dunkirk players. After a long period of treatment he was helped from the field and subsequently was taken to hospital for what seemed to be a serious injury. He was replaced by Adam Kimberly but the loss of a key defender disrupted Rainworth’s rhythm.
The referee seemed to tire of Dunkirk’s foul count and started to produce his yellow card for some robust tackles. Rainworth who had controlled most of the play were looking vulnerable and in the 41st minute Kieran Wells reduced the deficit from a well taken corner. That was the last major action of the half; and from a position of strength it was Rainworth who welcomed the half-time whistle.
The second half started; just like the first half ended with Dunkirk in the ascendency. In the 47th minute Kieran Wells almost brought the sides level; only to see his shot go agonisingly wide. In the 59th minute from yet another corner his fine header brought the scores level. The longer half went on so Dunkirk came more into the game with their combative style. However the yellow card count against them was mounting up. Gradually Rainworth started to get back into the match and in the 64th minute Adam Kimberly hit an absolute screamer into the top corner from just outside the penalty area.
Rainworth now started to probe for the killer goal and in the 66th minute only a fine save from the keeper stopped Conor Higginson from adding to the total. Then in the 81st minute, he spurned the opportunity; after being pulled down in the penalty area; his spot kick was well saved. It seemed only a matter of time before a Dunkirk player would pick up a second yellow and in the 83rd minute Tom Maddison became that player. Even down to ten men Dunkirk still had a couple of good chances to get back into the game. The best of those was when Kevin Spriggs went by three or four players in the area only to put his shot wide. That was to be the last chance and the whistle went for the end of the match.
The result on the night was in doubt until the final whistle and Rainworth just about deserved to beat a very competitive Dunkirk side. On the plus side they have once again managed to find their scoring touch; which has deserted them in 2013. There is however concern about the condition of Ashley Kitchen and we can only hope that it is not too serious and he makes a speedy recovery.
DUNKIRK: Mountain; Spriggs; Burton; Whyman; Brenen; Robinson; Maddison; B. Wells; K. Wells; Diuk; Coutts. Subs; brown; Ejezie; Jeffrey; Upton; Dobbie.
RAINWORTH: Barcherinie; Purcicoe; Magee; Camm; Kitchen (Kimberly 28); Williams; Hanson; Hollis; Higginson; J.Holmes; Goward. Subs (not used): White; Bacon; Jenkins.
Man of match; Jonathan Williams.